Date of this Version
Ecology, 95(6), 2014, p. 1711
Kenya is a world leader in conservation and host to one of the most diverse array of mammals on the planet. As a focus of scientific attention, it is important to be able to assess not only the current state of Kenya’s mammal communities, but also how they have changed over anthropogenic timescales. Comprehensive lists of mammal species from known areas are essential for this goal, and these also provide comparative baselines for assessing changes in mammalian diversity in the future and in the fossil record. Though there is considerable literature available for mammals inhabiting Kenyan protected areas (National Parks and Reserves), species compilation projects vary greatly in scope, completeness, agreement, and accuracy. We combine the information in these databases for Kenya and supplement them with the most up-to-date knowledge available up to November 2013. Comprehensive historical species lists were compiled from specimen lists collected during 1888–1950 in ecosystems that today correspond to 13 different protected areas. We also provide analogous modern species lists based on data collected during 1950–2012. The data sets include both large and small mammals. A master list of a total of 413 species provides ecological information including body mass, diet, feeding and shelter habitat, and activity time. Historical data are based on museum specimens and sighting records, and modern data are based on museum data as well as literature, books, field guides, written accounts, photos, and videos. We used this compilation for an analysis comparing the two data sets (excluding volant and domestic species) for six protected areas with the most complete historical records and have shown in a separate publication that species richness is preserved, but beta diversity, based on pairwise comparisons of sites in this database, is being lost over the entire study area.